"We've got bigger goals than the playoffs," spat Rider boss Chris Jones. "We're fortunate to be where we are. We've won enough football games to at least be in the dance and so now we wanna go, do our best, and try to secure home field of some sort. Keep chasing Calgary, and win the rest of 'em and let everything else fall in place. We treat every single game like it's the Grey Cup game. Some people say you can't do that but I totally disagree."
2 - FIRST PLACE: It seems unfathomable that the Roughriders could win 13 games and still not finish in first place but that speaks to the excellence of the front-running Calgary Stampeders (12-2). With 4 weeks to go, Saskatchewan is in a place where they have to win all their games and hope Calgary loses all theirs, which rarely happens. Winning the pennant has always been a goal of this year's Riders, but it's secondary to winning the Grey Cup (which the team is positioned well to do).
3 - SIMULATION: The CFL posted the first results of their popular computer simulation and here's what the PC spat out regarding CFL teams' chances of getting to the Grey Cup this year: Calgary (72%), Hamilton (58%), Ottawa (42%), Winnipeg (20%), Saskatchewan (8%) and Edmonton and BC (1%). Someone will need to explain to me why the Blue Bombers' odds are twice as good as the Riders to get to the Big Game? I was never good at math, but I know what I see.
4 - HOLD ON: Something seems fishy with the way holding penalties have been handed out in the CFL this year (and not handed out). Here's a stat on how many holding penalties on the OL have been called versus penalties against the DL (OL PEN Against/DL PEN For): Saskatchewan (19/7 = -12), BC (13/9 = -4), Montreal (13/11 = -2), Hamilton (8/7 = -1), Calgary (9/9 = 0), Winnipeg (11/13 = +2), Edmonton (12/16 = +4), Toronto (8/12 = +4), Ottawa (4/13 = +9).
6 - BE GRATEFUL: Monday's game was a chilly one, especially when the wind got up in the second half. But no one seemed to complain. But some people are still wondering why the new stadium wasn't made into a dome. The answer is simple: We couldn't afford it and the costs to heat and cool a dome would've bankrupt the City of Regina. Let's be glad we have the finest facility in the land and leave it at that.
7 - ONTO WINNIPEG: The Riders visit Winnipeg on Saturday in the 3rd game of their 3-game season series which Saskatchewan leads 2-0. Chris Jones was asked how hard it is to beat a team three straight times and he remarked, "It's hard enough to beat a team once!" The forecast for Saturday's game calls for rain/snow and +3 degrees Celsius. Kickoff is at 12:00 pm Sask Time on TSN and the 620 CKRM Radio Network.
8 - TRADE DEADLINE: The CFL's annual trade deadline came and went on Wednesday with little fanfare, although the Alouettes made a pair of deals. The Rider locker room was generally unfazed by the looming deadline. In fact when asked about it, QB Zach Collaros quipped, "Was it today?" Media types snickered about the dullness of the deadline, but it's a necessary evil. Some big trades have come on the deadline over the years including 2015's Tyler Crapigna/Jerome Messam swap between Saskatchewan and Calgary, which both teams would do again.
9 - SILENCE OF THE RAMS: 2018 will always be remembered as the year the University of Regina Rams got hit with the stiffest of penalties, being stripped of 3 wins for the use of an inelligible player. There are now rumours of the decision possibly being overturned and an online petition is circulating to help make it happen. To me, it boils down to one thing: If you want something done right, you still have to do it yourself.
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: I hate cats. ... The Riders lead the CFL in TV ratings and home attendance. ... I gained new respect for Pats captain Jake Leshyshyn for spearing an opponent with minutes to go in a 7-3 loss on Saturday. Old school! I didn’t know he cared that much. ... The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry remains the best in all of sports. ... Love seeing all the young kids at CFL games lately! The League seems to be on a major upswing. ... Kudos to former Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge - who's now a V.P. at Canadian Tire - for stepping up as the naming-rights sponsor of the CFLAA's Legends Luncheon at 2018 Grey Cup. ... Also loving the CFL's effort to partner with Mexico on a player exchange in the years ahead. Can we get a Rider game in Mexico City? ... It baffles me that the NHL would go to Germany and Sweden as part of its Global Series, then continue to insist "It's Our Game". ... After a 30-year grudge over the Gretzky Trade, I'm back being an Edmonton Oilers fan. One game in, I'm already disgruntled.